Monday, January 1, 2007

A New Year

I like New Year's -- and one's own birthday -- because they're place markers that stick. You can generally remember where you were and what you were doing last year on New Year's or your birthday, and that means you can actually gauge a year's progress. Plus, New Year's has the added advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your feelings) of traditionally inspiring resolutions. I recall making five resolutions with Stobex last year; one -- to make friends with Starman (fka the boyfriend; yes, he now has a blogonym -- film at 11!) -- can be marked off as accomplished rather beyond even my standards of success.

This year, my resolutions are pretty much the same old faves: Lose 40 pounds (but I'll settle for 20), get back to an exercise regime I can maintain, face down some more demons from the past . . . y'know, the classics. I'm off to a good start, though. I have a walking route that works -- it's 2.6 miles, involves a really steep hill in the first third, then a level bit, then a kinder, gentler uphill in the final third. Takes me about an hour, but I'm hoping to improve on that. Exercise is the key to weight loss for me, as it adjusts my metabolism and induces a pleasant appetite depressant.

And the demons? Well, Starman and I are off today to see some family members at a party. We'll be a bit of a surprise: we've been invited, but it's an open house I don't normally attend. However, as these particular family members were unusually hostile to the news of my divorce from Stobex, (I gather) blaming me for hurting Stobex (hah!), and generally presenting a stony silence, I thought it would be a good idea for all three of us to attend. This is a logistical feat, as Stobex lives in Philadelphia, Starman and I are in rural Pennsylvania, and the family party is in New York City. Synchronized watches and cell phones a must! I'm told my sister has already guessed that we might attend, but that's okay because I had guessed that she had guessed. Duelling gypsy blood!

I want to tell you about my demons, but I had an insight into this situation the other day. We have some lovely neighbors here who are roughly 20 years our seniors. (Frankly, I should look that good and be that fit even at my age.) They have grown children a decade younger than us. It's clear looking at the offspring that mistakes were made by the parents. Hey, it happens. But I like the parents, and can't really fault them as people. Had I met their children first, and learned about the parents through the children's eyes, I might not have been able to like them when I met them. That sort of filter is insidious, and I want to avoid it here.

My family includes lovely, bright, educated, accomplished, funny and charming people. They have tons of friends, who appreciate them in every respect. So the very same people I have problems with are completely unproblematic for most of the people in their lives. Yet, I'm not an ogre myself. You see where I'm going with this? It works the same way inside the family, as well. Our parents are both dead. I was very close with my mother, whose faults (and there were many) paled next to her characteristics: she too was lovely, bright, educated, accomplished, funny and charming. (Apple, meet tree.) I was less close to my dad, who was lovely, bright . . . you get the picture, but who didn't do it for me. I tried really hard, but there wasn't any particular magic between us. He struck me as solipsistic, and I struck him as scarily perceptive and argumentative.

Now, if you talked with my siblings, you would hear about their very different parents. Our mother would be portrayed as scatty, irrational, unreasonable, abusive, etc. Our father would come across as brilliant, methodical, rational, etc. You know what? It's all true. I just liked one of them more than the other. My siblings clearly liked the other one better.

So, here's deal. I'll tell you about my siblings, the party, their reactions when I show up with the husband and the boyfriend, etc., because it will make one hell of a story. But let's be clear. Just because I don't much like my siblings doesn't mean you wouldn't. You probably would. The worst thing I can say -- and even this should be taken with the appropriate saltiness -- is that they aren't unlikeable people, they're just (occasionally) unlikeable to me.

Well, a year ago -- right around New Year's -- I resolved to start a blog. Didn't happen until . . . oh, whatever the date is on my first post here. There, that's two I got done! Batting .400 ain't entirely shabby.

Have a very happy New Year's, and a very happy new year.

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